By (author): Sarah L. Taggart


49th SHELF TOP 22 BOOKS OF 2022

Is love real if the beloved isn’t? Girl, Interrupted meets Rebecca in this taut tale of love and madness

When Tia meets Pacifique, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime love. They spend five wild days and nights together, and then Tia wakes up in an ambulance with a collarbone broken in a bike accident — and no trace of Pacifique. Unable to convince anyone that Pacifique exists, Tia winds up in a psychiatric ward, forced to face the possibility that this perfect lover may be a figment of her imagination. While there, Tia meets Andrew, a contemplative man with schizophrenia, who falls in love with Tia. He, too, tells her to forget Pacifique. Who to believe? The medical establishment and her fellow patients? Or her frail human memory? And if Pacifique truly is a figment, is life in the “real world” with Andrew enough?

“In concise and vibrant prose, Sarah L. Taggart illuminates the dark corners of delusion (or is it delusion?) and a mental-health system that consigns people to endless limbo. Lucid and destabilizing, graceful and raw, this novel asks: is losing one’s sanity so different from falling in love?” – Deborah Willis, author of The Dark and Other Love Stories

Pacifique turns the psychological thriller on its head, allowing madness to be a meaningful lens through which to see the world instead of a cheap plot twist. Taggart has created a stunning, smart and revolutionary novel here – one that forces its readers to see clearly what so often remains hidden. This book means so much to me. One of the best I’ve read in years.” – Alicia Elliott, author of A Mind Spread Out On The Ground


Sarah L. Taggart

Sarah L. Taggart is a queer writer with lived experience of madness and forced psychiatrization. She has published short fiction in The Malahat Review, The Fiddlehead, and Journey Prize Stories. Her short fiction won the Jack Hodgins Founders’ Award for Fiction and was an honourable mention in The Fiddlehead’s annual fiction contest. She lives in Pito-one, near Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa (New Zealand) with her partner and their dog, Bagel, and is pursuing a PhD at the International Institute of Modern Letters, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.


Pacifique is a necessary novel that uses poetic language and poignant writing to bring the too-often marginalized and stigmatized stories of mental illness into mainstream narratives. Taggart doesn’t shy away asking hard questions in her work, and even more importantly, doesn’t attempt to offer answers or clean endings to stories that linger with readers after they’ve turned the last page.” – Megan Cole, ROOM Magazine

Pacifique is a welcome read, a story that’s compelling and touching, and a rejoinder to dated novels of mental illness. It keeps readers off balance but comes together nicely. It’s a good debut and one wonders where Taggart will go from here.” – Roz Milner, Broken Pencil

Pacifique portrays the highly stigmatized psychiatric hospitals and its patients through the eyes of an author who has experienced similar circumstances herself, allowing for a vulnerable and suspenseful story that continuously kept me on the edge of my seat.” – Megan Hatton, White Wall Review

Pacifique suggests that sometimes healing is accepting oneself and not trying to fit into the prescribed box, but to create the container that is most comfortable in which to reside.” – Becca Lawlor, Ampersand Review


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224 Pages
8.5in * 5.5in * 0.7in


October 11, 2022


Coach House Books



Book Subjects:

FICTION / Disabilities

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